8:30 am - Prayer Time
9:00 am - "Gospel Project" Bible Study for Kids
9:00 am - Early Worship Service
9:00 am - Youth Bible Study (In the Annex)
10:00 am - Fellowship Time
10:30 am - Second Worship Service
10:30 am - Preschool Worship
10:30 am - Children's Worship (in Annex)
>(Note: Children transition to Children's Worship during the 10:30 service from the Worship Center)
10 am and 6:00 pm - Women's Ministry Connection Group Bible Study (Periodically: Check Calendar)
5:30 pm - AWANA Clubs for Kids in grades K-12th Grade
6:00 pm - Light Meal/Refreshments
6:30 pm - Large Group
7:30 pm - Small Groups
9:00 am - Men's Ministry Connection Group Bible Studies (Periodically: Check Calendar)
Where there is no vision, the people perish”
(This is the original Vision Statement for Living Waters Fellowship, It was written in 2000 while Pastor Coram was still on active duty as an Army Chaplain. It reflects his God-given vision for a new church that eventually was established in 2004)
God has spoken to me out of the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah went to Jerusalem, the city of his forefathers and kinsmen, to rebuild the work of God and to breathe into the hearts of his people the new wind of God’s power and life. My kinsmen are military families. For me, Jerusalem is Oak Grove Kentucky. God has called me to go there and begin the awesome task of building Christ into the lives of the lost and hurting people of Oak Grove, KY. At the same time we are to build a church that will protect, nurture, and prepare these people as we passionately reach out to those who are still living outside the wall of Jesus Christ. God has called my wife and me to this ministry task. We will build the walls of Jerusalem and see spiritually dead men and women come to life in Christ. Join us as we plant our lives and God’s church in Oak Grove Kentucky.
At the start of this new millennium the need to find new ways of building the Kingdom of God is evident now more than ever before. Technology has allowed us to expand our horizons, but the process has created a society that views the things of God as largely irrelevant to their life and culture. While God never changes, we must adapt our methods of ministry in order to remain relevant to the culture at large. This can be accomplished if we are willing to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.
My purpose in sharing this vision is to show how I envision God’s work to be done in a very select segment of our culture. Ministry in a predominantly military community is comparatively different, yet similar to traditional ministry. It is different because the military lifestyle brings with it a unique set of challenges. Similar in that all people groups have the same basic spiritual needs.
As I share this vision, my prayer is that you would ask yourself what part you play in making this vision a reality for the Glory of God and the building of His kingdom.
My Doctoral project dissertation focused on teaching others to make all of life worship. I believe that worship is the central focus of the church. As such, worship is not limited to certain hours of the day or week. As we define it, worship is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, from the delivered to the Deliverer. It is a “Thank You” that refuses to be silent. When the church gathers together, worship should take place. When the church scatters to do ministry, worship should be an integral part of all ministries. We want to create an atmosphere where people find freedom in worship.
With regard to collective worship, ours will be informal and inviting. We want to welcome the unbeliever while at the same time create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can move freely in the hearts of believers and can touch the lives of the unbeliever. This atmosphere would acknowledge the presence and movement of the Holy Spirit and would foster revival when God chooses to send it. It is important that God’s people prepare their hearts for worship each and every time they gather together. I am more concerned about what is in your heart that what you are wearing. Focus on looking right on the inside and come expecting God to move in a mighty way.
The last three decades witnessed an explosion of cell group ministry that was actually the reestablishment of the New Testament home churches. Although home churches and cell groups are not exactly identical they both capture the dynamic faith lived out in the intimate/accountable setting of small groups. I believe the only way a church can grow large and strong is by maintaining a robust cell group ministry. Of course the most well known model of the cell group church is Dr Cho’s Full Gospel Church in Soul Korea. At last count his church had over 100,000 cell group leaders. With a church that ministers to over one million people, this remains the only possibility for each of those persons to have pastoral care. Additionally these cell groups are learning laboratories to train future ministry leaders. Finally cell groups focus the ministry of the church on the community that surrounds the church. Utilizing the homes of the body of believers (which takes stress off the physical plant of the church), cell groups become lighthouses of the gospel wherever they are located.
Cell group leaders become the primary ministry objective as far as spiritual growth is concerned for the cell group pastor. A clear plan of discipleship development must be built into a personal covenant with each small group leader.
We will call our cell groups “Life Groups.” This connotation evokes the thought that the life of the church is centered in these groups. Each group will have a year-long theme and each will have an annual ministry project that will be developed, resourced, and accomplished by the members of each of these groups. By necessity and by design, we will not have a traditional Sunday school program. Instead, the Life groups will have the lion share of the responsibility for Bible study and preparation for future service.
This part of ministry certainly is connected to cell group ministry; however, it constantly looks for and stresses the possibility of a vocational call to ministry. I believe the military has already developed strong leadership traits in their leaders. Many of them will complete 20 to 30 years of military service at an age where they still have in excess of 25 years of robust service to offer. They have a worldview, which makes them excellent candidates for missions around the globe. They frequently possess language skills, logistical experience, political savvy, and survival skills that keep then in good stead as they consider potential mission possibilities. In addition to all this, they have retirement pay that lessens the load of the required resources it ordinarily takes to place mission workers on the field.
As a friend once said, “Churches should plant new churches. Associations and denominations can certainly assist in many ways, but the local church is the primary tool for church planting.” For more reasons than we can deal with here this seems to be the case. Of course the 13th Chapter of Acts certainly identifies this process with great clarity. The church is in the business of developing spiritual leaders and opening new areas of service to those who respond to Christ’s call to discipleship. Although the training offered by our seminaries is a tremendous tool in developing leaders in Christ’s church, the primary identification and development of those leaders belongs to the local church. We believe that a vital church will reproduce itself frequently and in many cases produce leaders for the new congregations.
It is my goal that we seriously set a goal to begin a new church, similar to this one in its purpose and vision, outside the gates of another military installation within 3 years of this date.
Although the worldwide prayer movement has been exploding for the past 3 decades, it is only recently that the church in America has caught the vision of the essential nature of this activity in the local church. Many churches have developed 7/24 intercessory ministries. Additionally prayer movements seem to be uniting and empowering not only the local church, but pastors and church bodies have been uniting under the call to prayer as a ministry to a town or city. We are seeing denominational lines being blurred and people from many Christ-centered denominations uniting to glorify Christ and His Church. I believe that prayer empowers and gives spiritual vision to the local church. I believe all ministries should be driven by the power of prayer according to the teaching of Scripture. Constant prayer should cover all endeavors of those in ministry at the local church level.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12) This is not a suggestion, it is a command, and yet division in the church remains the weak flank in the spiritual war. The lack of unity across denominations, ethnic groups, within congregations, and down to bitterness and fighting between individual Christians remains the most common weakness of the church. Scripture directs us toward unity and it is not optional if we are to fulfill the Great Commission. After all we have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” Bitterness and division are not to be tolerated in a New Testament Church. Those who will not forgive will not grow. A church, which accepts unforgiveness among its members, will not grow. (See Matthew 6:14,15) As we see communities unified in Christ we are witnessing church leaders and congregations gathering across denominational lines for prayer. This unity has the power to bring down the gates of hell, in Jesus’ Name.
We believe a church should live with a constant expectation that the Spirit of God will move in such a powerful way that not only will the church be transformed but also the community. Dr. Bill Bright in his prophetic book, The Coming Revival, describes revival in this manner. “Revival is a sovereign work of God—in answer to sincere, prevailing prayer—in which He:
- Grips His people with deep conviction, repentance, forgiveness, and deliverance from personal sins
- Fills His people with the Holy Spirit and manifest in them the fruit and graces of the Holy Spirit
- Fills the Church and community with His presence and power
- Ignites in His people, young and old, a passion to bring the lost to Christ at home and around the world”
This is the description of a church that can and will wear the mantle of Christ’s redemptive mission in a lost and broken world. We are called to be that kind of Church.
One significant change I observed in the military is the vast numbers of soldiers and families that have no biblical frame of reference. We believe the Great Commission compels us to establish means and methods to reach those who so desperately need to hear the Good News of the Gospel. As such, we see a need for a comprehensive outreach program. Many of the tools mentioned to this point will contribute to this vital mandate.
Another evangelistic tool I discovered during my time in the military is a program called the ALPHA Course (For more information you can visit their website at http://www.alphausa.org/ ). This course targets unchurched and dechurched peoples. They are personally invited to participate in a class that has been dubbed as “Christianity 101.” Lasting ten weeks, they attend one night a week and enjoy a meal provided for them by members of the ALPHA team. They enjoy the fellowship around the table with members of the church where they begin to build relationships. After the meal, the leader gives a short, lighthearted introduction to a video presentation. Topics include, “Who is Jesus?” “Why did Jesus have to die?” “Why should I read the Bible?” and “Why should I pray?” After the video presentation, the guests are divided into small, facilitated groups where they can question the things they heard during the video. No question is too radical. These small groups turn into cell groups very quickly. At the end of the ten weeks, guests have been warmly received into a spiritual body. A majority of them have made a decision for Christ. Their next step is to assume a helping role in the next course. By the end of the second course they have been fully incorporated into the life of the church.
We saw much success with this program in the military community and collaborated with pastors who used this program as their primary method for church growth. We have confidence that many will be brought into the kingdom using this program.
We believe the ministry of our Lord gives us the best examples of meeting the needs of others as part of our Christian lifestyle. Our own spiritual heritage encourages us to include physical needs as part of that mandate. One of the hallmarks of the Christian life has always been to “give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name”. How this is acted out in the life of the church will mark that church as one who is more than just a “hearer of the word, but a doer of the word also”. We envision a church that acts out its faith by meeting needs. Our ministry will be defined by intentional and humble acts of kindness done in Jesus name.
Pastor David W. Coram